Deer Season Scouting

Scouting a new piece of deer property can be very fun, exciting and if done right will make you more successful in harvesting deer in the future. Once you arrive at the new ground take a minute to over look the entire area by getting to higher ground and try to  have a complete aerial photo with you or topo maps of the area. Take time to see where the food sources are, the bedding cover might be and take note of any travel areas that the deer will use.

Have a plan in mind and if possible try and do your scouting in late winter or early spring. This way the deer sign from the season past is still fresh and you will not be driving your deer from your property. I always like to locate the food in the area and than the bedding. I look for small pinch points or travel corridors and go there first. I like to find where the deer trails neck down and possible ambush spots are found and a likely air assault can be placed.

I rather hunt the travel areas and if possible stay away from the bedding cover. Out West usually the deer in the river bottoms travel short distances from food to cover so you have to be  ultra stealthy. The edges of alfalfa fields or other crops are good scouting points but I rarely sit on them when trying to shoot a mature buck. I like to be inside the field edges 100 yards or so where possible so I can catch those big deer staging just before dark. You will see less deer but more of the right deer you are trying to take. This strategy also works well when it is time to get out of your stand. When you sit on field edges and finish your hunt now you have to get down and walk across the same field the deer are in. Not a good idea! I rather slip out back through the timber and go undetected.

Morning hunts are also very tough out West in the river bottom properties. Usually you end up spooking the deer from the food sources when trying to get into your stand site. Most of my time is spent glassing from a high vantage point and evaluate where the deer are entering the cover. They will generally come back out in the same area in the evening. Use the mid day time to scout or hang stand set ups where you will have the least impact on the deer you are hunting. I have sometimes hung stand set ups in the dark while the deer are out in the fields.Just a few pointers to try if you are hunting river bottom property. Try using a small boat or canoe to enter and exit your hunting area and you will leave very little disturbance for the deer to pick up on. Wear hip boots to walk in the water and use while on stand. Your scent will be minimized. Make sure you have someone pick you up on the field edges by vehicle. Deer are used to farm tractors or vehicles driving in the fields and are better than you walking out across the areas you are hunting.

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